Review: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch is a remake of the old 1993 Game Boy game and it’s one of those games that leans heavily on nostalgia for me. It was the best game I owned on my Game Boy and I played it a lot! Later, when the Game Boy Color came, I bought the DX version as well, which featured a new colour dungeon, but added little else to the game than that. So, how does this remake hold up? Is it still a timeless classic?

Koholint Island and the Wind Fish

At the start of the game we see Link on a boat and he’s in a storm. The boat is hit by lightning and Link wakes up in a bed with a girl and her dad staring at him, Marin and Tarin. The island seems like a very mysterious place and the further you get along, the more you’ll start to doubt what’s real and what isn’t.

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One of the murals found in the game

The Eight Instruments

The goal of the game is to find all eight instruments that will awaken the Wind Fish. As with most Zelda games you’ll have to enter dungeons, solve puzzles and defeat bosses in order to attain these treasures. Each dungeon will also give you a new tool or item that is usually needed to defeat its boss too.

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Marin and Link playing the Ballad of the Wind Fish

Getting new items from the dungeons will open new paths in the world and before too long you’ll be able to get to all the locations with ease. There’s plenty of secrets to find inย Link’s Awakening too. As with most entries in the series, you can find pieces of heart that will increase the total amount of heart containers by one, once you collect four of them. And then there’s a total of fifty Secret Seashells to find as well!

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Probably one of the most annoying minigames in the game

What makesย Link’s Awakening such a wonderful, but also quite a weird game in the series is that there seem to be all kinds of other Nintendo characters in it. Like the Yoshi Doll in the screenshot above. There are also side-scrolling segments that often feature Goombas, or other enemies we know from the Super Mario games.

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The first time you see Goombas, you’re like… W.T.F.?

Yet, somehow, despite all these weird crossovers they really do fit in quite nicely and add to the overall charm of this game.

Linear, but oh so much fun!

Link’s Awakening is quite a linear game, but what can we really expect from a game that was originally released for the Game Boy? Nintendo already pushed what was possible with the hardware with this game and in many ways this remake is the game you will remember if you played the original.

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The game isn’t particularly hard, but if you like a challenge, you can play in Hero mode, which will cause the game to no longer drop hearts and you’ll be hit twice as hard by all enemies. I’ll definitely be doing that at some point, although it has to be said that I won’t be looking forward to the final boss fight, which can get quite frustrating.

A timeless classic

The remake ofย Link’s Awakening is everything I had hoped for. The art style is very cute and the depth of field camera add to that charm a lot. The music is re-imagined as well, but still contains hints of Game Boy sounds sometimes.

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For me this was one big trip down memory lane, and although the game can be finished quite fast, it’s absolutely worth your money. It’s not a game that would be released by Nintendo in this form had it been designed from scratch, so you can tell that the original was a handheld game, but the design is so solid and it survived the sands of time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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It shouldn’t even be a question of whether to buy this game or not. If you have a Switch, this is a must buy! The game looks great and it’s one of those typical styles only Nintendo can get away with. It’s a classic Zelda experience and afterย A Link to the Past, this is my favourite 2D Zelda game.

Happy gaming!






Overall rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

2 replies »

  1. Jeffrey, I read your Legend of Zelda articles & forward them to my oldest son, Andy 41, who worships “Zelda” as much as you! He responded to your last article that he has been planning to purchase it! I will send this on to him as well. He is a website designer…now a supervisor/VP. What I think he will like is what you said,” What makes Linkโ€™s Awakening such a wonderful, but also quite a weird game in the series is that there seem to be all kinds of other Nintendo characters in it.” — Very thorough review here for aficionados! Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Philip! That’s so great to hear that your son is also a big Zelda fan! He’s around the same age as I am (I’m 38 now) so it’s very likely he played the original game on the Game Boy the same way I did! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope he enjoys the game as much as I have!

      Liked by 1 person

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